Alkaline Dietary Supplements

by Barbara Froek

Eat plenty of acid-neutralizing fruits and vegetables.

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What you eat influences your body's acid/alkaline balance. When the body is more alkaline and less acidic, its systems function more efficiently. The typical American diet is high in acid-forming proteins and cereal grains and lower in acid-buffering fruits and vegetables. Alkaline supplements neutralize acids and help reduce acidity. Dietary changes can boost alkalinity as well.

Importance of Alkaline Balance

The net acid load of your diet refers to the balance of foods that promote an alkaline environment versus foods that increase acidity. Fruits and vegetables encourage alkalinity, while foods like meat and dairy raise acid levels. The net acid load of the typical American diet influences the risk for chronic diseases, including heart disease, obesity and osteoporosis.

Researchers followed more than 66,000 women over a 14-year period to establish a link between dietary acid load and the risk of Type 2 diabetes. The results demonstrated for the first time in a large study that acid load increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to the authors.

The Nitty Gritty of Alkaline Supplements

The minerals potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese and iron buffer acids and help keep the acid/alkaline balance. Alkaline supplements contain a blend of these "alkaline minerals" in a solution. To use an alkaline supplement, you place the directed number of drops into a glass of water and drink it. These minerals are found in your diet in foods like leafy greens, bananas, squash, oranges, nuts and seeds.

Efficacy of Alkaline Supplements

Before taking alkaline supplements, it's crucial to know whether they are effective at boosting alkalinity, which is measured by pH. Studies are limited, but a small study appearing in the June 2009 edition of the Nutrition Journal reported positive results. In the experiment, a group of men and women took a supplement rich in alkaline minerals and had their blood and urinary pH measured before and after. Within three hours of ingesting the supplement, their blood and urine pHs rose significantly. In addition, longer-term supplementation boosted morning and evening pH.

Make Dietary Changes

Most experts agree that it's best to get the nutrients your body needs from a healthy diet. Make some dietary modifications to help bring the acid/alkaline level into balance. A good place to start is to increase your fruit and vegetable intake and eat a more plant-based diet. To reduce your dietary acid load, lower your intake of acid-forming foods like meat, meat products, dairy, processed food and fast food.

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About the Author

Barbara Froek is a dietitian and fitness trainer who holds a Bachelor of exercise and nutrition sciences as well as a Master of dietetics, food and nutrition. She has served as a contributing writer for various diet and fitness magazines including "Flex," "Muscular Development" and "Muscle & Fitness Hers."